Outstanding performances were given by the entire cast.
By GARRY L. CLARK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- More than "A Bushel and a Peck" full of talent was on display at Friday evening's opening performance of "Guys and Dolls" at the New Castle Playhouse.
Based on "The Idyll of Sarah Brown" by Damon Runyon, the fast-moving musical comedy by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows is filled with toe-tapping memorable tunes by Frank Loesser as the story of small-time gamblers and the perils of a nearby mission unfolds. The setting is on New York City's Broadway circa 1950.
Here we find Nathan Detroit searching out a new home for his floating crap game as he is expecting some big spenders. Through the course of events, he makes a bet with fellow gambler Sky Masterson that requires Masterson to romance and win the heart of Sarah Brown, a young woman who runs the Save-A-Soul mission along with her grandfather, Arvide Abernathy. Problem is, Masterson didn't bet on actually falling in love with the girl he's wooing.
Of course, Detroit has problems of his own in the romance department. It seems he's been engaged to the lovely Adelaide, a dancer at the Hot Box Club, for 14 years, and Adelaide is beginning to tire of the arrangement and yearn for the altar.
These two lovestruck couples fight their way through some hilarious adventures as they pursue ultimate happiness.
Stephanie Cambro-Holt and Patrick Erkman headlined the excellent cast as Sarah Brown and Sky Masterson, both being more than equal to their tasks.
A vividly funny portrayal was given by Connie Cassidy as Miss Adelaide, and Neal Edman was her perfect foil as Nathan Detroit. Cassidy's high-pitched New York twang was just right in her speeches as well as singing, especially "Bushel and a Peck" and "Adelaide's Lament," as was Edman's rendition of her somewhat smarmy but lovable fianc & eacute;.
Jeffrey Hall was perfectly cast as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, his excellent voice booming out in "Guys and Dolls" and "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat."
Gordon Wepfer also did quite well as Arvide, and wonderfully comic supporting performances were given by Amy H. Warner as General Matilda B. Cartwright, Phillip Clark Jr. as Harry the Horse and Victor Garcia as Big Jule. The remaining cast members were right in tune with their characters.
Director Michael Cavalier has done an outstanding job in assembling the large, high-energy cast required for this production and is to be commended especially for his musical direction of the men's chorus.
Their harmonies on "The Oldest Established Floating Crap Game" and "Luck Be a Lady" were well-honed as was their demandingly athletic choreography.
Of special note also was the spot-on costuming and scenic design. Both gave the production a colorful, almost-cartoon quality that blended well with the story line.